Nourish - Natural Hangover Tips for Before, During and After Drinking Alcohol
Drinking enough alcohol to get yourself a hangover is definitely not something I would recommend. Though having said that, I do believe alcohol can be very pleasurable and aid in relaxation which is something so many of us need!
As a result, there can be the odd time that we have that one drink too many and wake up thinking “I’m never drinking again!”
Hangovers happen when our already overburdened livers struggle to clear out the excessive amount of toxins and chemicals ingested from too much alcohol. Our bodies are dehydrated, our blood sugar levels are all over the place, our electrolytes are depleted and fatigue takes over.
Worse than just feeling awful, hangovers can actually wreak havoc on our immune system, digestive tract and organ function – yikes!
Here are some of our favourite natural hangover tips and what we recommend you do before, during and after drinking alcohol to help limit the damage.
What To Do Before You Drink
1. Line Your Stomach and Eat Well Before Drinking
The golden rule of alcohol is to never drink on an empty stomach.
Since alcohol is absorbed from your stomach, if you haven’t eaten anything before drinking, you’ll certainly feel the effects of drinking much more the next morning.
By lining your stomach with food, you’ll be able to slow down the metabolism process which allows alcohol to be absorbed at a slower pace.
Next time you’re planning on heading out, fill up beforehand with plenty of slow-releasing carbs, protein, good fats and high-fibre foods. For example asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brown rice, sweet potato and quinoa.
The difference between feeling normal versus waking up the next morning with a nauseous stomach and sore head can be as simple as a good meal.
2. Boost Your Nutrition Before You Drink
Alcohol is known to deplete a multitude of nutrients in your body including vitamins B1, B6, B12, folic acid, zinc, magnesium and many more.
These nutrients are responsible for many metabolic processes of the body, including helping the liver to detox effectively.
If you’re low on these nutrients before you drink, you may worsen your hangover symptoms and feel edgy, anxious and exhausted the day after a long night out.
Raising your levels of these nutrients may be helpful, so having foods rich in these vitamins and minerals is a good strategy to help lessen the hangover.
The number one way for this is to eat a very good diet full of fruits, veggies, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, good fats etc. You know the drill.
An alternative is to take a good multivitamin like this one. Or opt for an effervescent vitamin/mineral like this one (my personal favourite).
Organic Spirulina is a B-Vitamin powerhouse and makes a wonderful addition to your pre and post-drinking routine. It’s rich in Vitamin B6 which is known to help hangovers, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3 and more.
If you’re not already taking Spirulina, then I’d recommend you start a couple of weeks beforehand, taking just 2 tablets or ½ teaspoon a day. Once your body is accustomed, I’d recommend taking 8 tablets (or 1 teaspoon) before going out and the same again the next day.
Magnesium can relieve various kinds of headaches. Since magnesium is depleted with alcohol consumption, magnesium-rich foods and supplements may help you avoid headaches associated with the infamous hangover.
Try having magnesium-rich foods during the day such as nuts, seeds, green leafy veg, raw cacao and avocados.
Alternatively, take it as a supplement. I personally love BetterYou Magnesium spray.
3. Protect Your Liver
In order for these upcoming liver-supportive foods to be truly effective, I’d recommend that you make these foods part of your daily routine.
The brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) contains enzymes that support liver detox, so load up on them.
Green juices and smoothies are a great way to add more greens in.
Organic Chlorella is a fantastic liver protector because it actually cleanses toxins from the body. Start with 2 tablets or ½ teaspoons in water (lemon water, juice or a smoothie). After a week or two at this dose increase to 4 tablets or 1 teaspoon. Then you can increase the dose to 8 tablets or 2 teaspoons after 3-4 days if you need some serious detoxing.
Organic Wheatgrass is rich in chlorophyll and is another favourite to have before drinking and eating out. Greens are truly a game-changer when it comes to a hangover.
Apple cider vinegar is a great liver helper. Take anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon in a glass of warm water each morning. For a zesty twist add lemon to the water with an optional ½ tsp. of turmeric.
Turmeric either fresh or dried is very powerful for the liver and is super easy to add into your diet. I personally love it in smoothies, juice and as a tea. It can also be added to cooking, like in curries or turmeric rice.
I also love to drink dandelion root tea and nettle tea as part of my liver loving routine.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, so make sure to drink up during the day and before you head out for a drink.
You’re probably already dehydrated before you take that first shot, so alcohol will worsen the effects further.
I would also suggest avoiding caffeine if you can. This is just an extra liver loader and can make you feel worse.
What To Do While Drinking
1. Choose Your Poison Carefully
Some drinks have a much more dramatic effect on how you feel the next day due to various colourings, additives, artificial sweeteners and sugar they may contain. These all put an additional strain on your body and detoxification organs.
Brightly coloured alco-pops, mixers, syrupy liqueurs, diet drinks and cocktails are the worst culprits.
If possible, try going for the clear and clean alcohol options like gin or vodka, and swap the sugary mixers for sparkling water and lemon or lime juice. Trust me, the sugary drinks make hangovers much worse.
Organic sulphate-free wine is also a better choice.
Did you know that many people think that wine gives them headaches but it’s actually the sulphates used in the wine?
Opting for sulphate free may help you out next time you fancy having a glass of wine with your meal.
2. Slow Down
Drink slowly and aim to have no more than two drinks in three hours.
If you can’t manage that, then for every alcoholic drink, order a glass of water with ice and fresh lime — it’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and adding some flavour will likely help you drink more. (Water that is!)
3. Head Home by 1 a.m
Nothing good ever happens after 1 a.m! After 1 a.m the late-night pizzas/greasy burgers, fries and bags of crisps make an appearance, and dare I say it, the cigarettes you gave up may just want to come out and play.
Try having a firm 1 a.m. cut-off and head back home.
What To Do After Drinking
1. Stay Hydrated
Alcohol causes us to lose a lot of water, meaning we get dehydrated, hence why our heads hurt the morning after drinking too much.
Because our bodies rely on water for every single function, it’s essential to remember to drink plenty of water and caffeine-free herbal teas before, during and after drinking alcohol. Staying hydrated may help to lessen the effects of a hangover the next day.
Other than pure water and herbal caffeine-free teas, try:
Coconut water – when you drink, you pee a lot, you sweat tonnes and worst comes to worst, you might even vomit – eek!
Besides dehydration, alcohol triggers a major electrolyte imbalance in the body.
Coconut water is high in electrolytes that replenish the body’s water levels after dehydration making it fantastic for hangovers.
Alternatively or additionally, add a pinch of sea salt and lemon juice to your water too to alkalize.
Green juices and smoothies are fab as they’re high in minerals and electrolytes.
Green tea – among the bazillion other things it’s good for, green tea benefits your overworking liver.
2. Eat Well Afterwards
Most people think a hangover is a good excuse to grease it up with burgers and fries. Uh uh. This will make you feel much worse come the morning.
Instead enjoy your high-quality protein, good fats, healthy carbs, sulphur mineral-rich foods and fermented foods instead.
Think green leafy veg, avocadoes, eggs, garlic, onions, cruciferous veggies, sauerkraut, kefir, nuts, seeds etc.
Sulphur rich foods play a big role in detoxification, and your liver could use all the help it can get after a heavy night’s drinking.
Other options are green juices and smoothies. These are highly alkalizing, which trust me, after all that alcohol, you’ll need!
They’re simple, detoxing and nourishing to the body, not to mention super easy to digest on a delicate stomach.
Since alcohol depletes magnesium, if you didn’t boost your intake before drinking, now is the time to do it.
If supplements aren’t your thing, consider a magnesium-rich Epsom salt soak to melt away some of that hangover pain.
Alcohol depletes vitamins in the body. B-vitamins are responsible for many metabolic processes of the body — the liver detox pathways rely on B’s to detox effectively. Take 1-2 B-complex vitamins daily after drinking. This can work wonders.
Chlorella may help your liver to process the onslaught of harmful toxins and blood alcohol levels by helping to remove alcohol from the liver.
Lie in as long as you can, recovery takes place in your sleep!
Sleep deprivation only exacerbates a hangover’s misery, so aim for at least eight hours’ sleep after you’ve had a liquid night out.
So there you have it: simple and easy things to do before and after drinking. If you feel overwhelmed by the number of tips, just pick one or two to experiment with and find out what works best for you.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.